Transgender Pakistanis Demand Protection After Murder, Dismemberment

Dozens of transgender people have staged a protest in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar to demand more protection after a transgender woman was shot dead and dismembered.

The protesters gathered on August 20 outside the Peshawar Press Club, chanting: “We want protection. We want respect and rights.”

On August 16, a transgender woman named as Nazo was shot dead during a wedding ceremony in Peshawar and her body mutilated.

One of two suspects arrested in the case was apprehended early on August 17 carrying a bag of the victim’s dismembered body parts that he reportedly was trying to dispose of.

According to census data released a year ago, Pakistan’s total population of transgender people — locally known as Khusra or Heejra — stood at more than 10,400.

In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognize a third gender, allowing transgender people to obtain identity cards and vote. Several members of the community have also run in elections.

Despite this progress, many of them continue to face rampant discrimination, are reduced to begging or prostitution, and subjected to extortion and violence.

Farzana Jan, president of the Transgender Association, said 62 transgender people had been killed since 2015 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, of which Peshawar is the capital.

She said 478 violent attacks had been reported against transgender people in the province so far in 2018.

TransAction Pakistan, an activist group supporting the rights of transgender persons, says at least 1,133 cases of violence were committed against members of the transgender community in the province from 2015 to 2017.

Transgender people in Pakistan claim to be cultural heirs of the eunuchs who served as senior courtiers to the Indian subcontinent’s Mughal rulers in the 17th and 18th centuries, before being banned under British rule.

by AP, Dawn, The Daily Times, Geo TV, and Pakistan Today
Source – Radio Free Europe